ON THE ELECTION
The hours and days since Donald Trump won the US presidential election have for me, and for so many others, been full of a thousand tiny little heartbreaks. Waking up at 4am on Wednesday morning to find that the victory I'd begun to take for granted was suddenly in jeopardy, broke my heart. Seeing headlines juxtaposing the words ‘President’ with ‘Trump’ a few hours later, broke my heart. A video of a 103 year old Clinton supporter watching the results roll in, broke my heart. Watching the Obamas, gracious to the bitter end, having to welcome into their home a man who despises them and everything they stand for – that too broke my heart. The thousands of think pieces dissecting what Hillary should have done differently, what she could have done better. The circulation of news footage from eighteen months ago, when we’d all chortled at the prospect of a Trump presidency. This photo of Hillary gamely posing with a supporter who bumped into her during a private moment, only a day after her defeat. All of these moments, and so many others, have broken my heart in a way that, being relatively young, I hadn't yet had the misfortune to experience.
And, aware as I am that - being the white, wealthy, wife of a former US President - Hillary Clinton is someone who is unlikely to feel the sharp end of Trump’s policies first hand, I feel so sad for her still – the disappointment and frustration at the injustice of the situation must be immense. How she found it in her to deliver such a graceful and optimistic concession speech, and to provide comfort to so many in a time of turmoil remains a mystery to me. And haven't we all been there? We are all Hillary, in a way. Every single working woman has had her own Donald Trump. The guys who patronises her. The guy who gaslights her. The guy who interrupts her, and talks over her in meetings. The guy whose unchallenged access to circles of power and influence has given him a heightened sense of entitlement, and an unshakeable (and undeserved) sense of his own rectitude. "If anyone still doubts that the inexperienced man gets promoted ahead of the qualified woman, you can wake up now", Barbara Kingsolver wrote in the days leading up to the election, but sadly the nightmare continues. As someone who is both female and black, the disaster we now face feels twofold, given that I know there isn’t a single part of my identity Donald Trump doesn’t hold in utter contempt. Racism, as well as misogyny, is the beating undercurrent of the groundswell that carried Donald Trump all the way into the White House.
I usually try to keep Women Who as a fairly politically neutral space, although it doesn't come easily to me – those who know me well know I'm a very political person. An attempt at neutrality is why I chose to post my supportive message of Hillary the day of the election on my personal Instagram account instead of on Women Who’s, and it's why the few political posts I have made to date have been fairly neutral, galvanising political action in general as opposed to trying to sway the tide of opinion one way or another.
Everything is political when you're a woman, and Donald Trump is an enemy of women the world over - not just those in the USA. The only positive by-product of his win (and one which I’d trade in an instant) is that it’s made me more determined than ever for Women Who to be a platform that champions women everywhere, a force for good in a world that tries so hard to diminish our value. It’s shown me how far we still have to go. How much work there is still left to do. I'm here and ready for that fight.